Packers’ David Bakhtiari to return, facing Buccaneers
September 25, 2022
The Green Bay Packers' left tackle David Bakhtiari is expected to return to the team’s lineup to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday after suffering a knee injury, as reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Bakhtiari initially tore his ACL in the team’s practice on December 31, 2020. He suffered his injury after reaching a four-year contract extension with the Packers a month and a half before.
He spent a year recovering and finally returned to the field during the Packers’ last regular season games against the Detroit Lions on January 9 this year. In that game, he played 27 snaps before getting injured again.
He was not on the Packers' roster when Aaron Rodgers and teammates were defeated in the Divisional Round by the San Francisco 49ers. After the game, starting right tackle Billy Turner took Bakhtiari's place at left tackle.
For the upcoming matchup against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, Rodgers could get help from Bakhtiari’s presence on the lineup when facing Tom Brady.
According to Rapoport, Rodgers will have one of his most trusted protectors in the Packers’ lineup.
“A season debut: #Packers LT David Bakhtiari, who boarded the bus with teammates wearing a shirt with his face on it, is expected to play on Sunday. A huge lift for the GB offense,” Rapoport said.
Bakhtiari skipped several games in the 2022 NFL season since suffering the ACL tear. In 2021, Bakhtiari was placed on the PUP list from the first game, missing a total of six games. The Packers then activated him on November 10, 2021, to be listed on the team’s roster for Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Therefore, he was listed on the PUP list again and inactivated for the remaining regular season games before the Packers-Lions matchup. He missed the Packers’ 2022 NFL first two games.
This season, the Packers' offensive tackle Yosh Nijman replaced Bakhtiari in the left tackle position and was given an overall grade of 72.9 from Pro Football Focus from two weeks played.
According to ESPN, the Packers could utilize Bakhtiari to contribute to the team which he provided for the team before suffering his ACL injury.
As three-time Pro Bowler, Bakhtiari could help Rodgers, who got sacked seven times throughout this season in two games. Rodgers was sacked four times in Packers’ Week 1’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings and three times when facing the Chicago Bears, despite winning the game in Week 2.
Packers-Buccaneers roster situation
In addition to Bakhtiari’s return, the Packers also removed four players from the injured list, namely wide receiver Allen Lazard (ankle), kicker Mason Crosby (illness), DT Kenny Clark (groin) and offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins (knee), who participated in team’s practice on Friday.
Meanwhile, their two other wide receivers Christian Watson (hamstring) and Randall Cobb (illness) are listed as questionable on the team’s injury report for the upcoming game against the Buccaneers.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis, who suffered a groin injury, is also doubtful to play. Therefore, according to Freddie Boston from Fansided, the Packers are expected to prepare a replacement for him in the offensive lineup.
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, have confirmed the absence of two players: wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (foot), while wide receivers Julio Jones (knee), Breshad Perriman (knee), and Russell Gage (hamstring) are questionable.